By David Hulsey
Spey fishing originated on a Scottish River of the same name many moons ago. Long, heavy wooden rods were used to cast and lob flies to fish in its cool waters. Today, wonderfully easy to cast graphite and boron fly rods are used in larger rivers and streams all over the world for a variety of cold and warm water species. Trout Spey involves somewhat smaller, 2 through 5 weight rods of 12 feet or less that can toss heavy lines and flies sometimes incredibly long distances. These rods are very well suited to fishing our larger rivers here in Georgia and Western North Carolina. Here in the Southern mountains, we are well treed along the banks of almost any stream. Spey rods handle this well in that the casts created almost eliminate the big back cast needed with a regular fly rod, to reach the distances these rods are capable of. Spey casts are similar to the common roll cast except they are a lot more dynamic. Two hands are used instead of one, with one hand functioning as a fulcrum and the other pulling on the lower handle.
Trout spey lines that are useful for the Appalachian two handers are the Scandi and the Skagit taper lines. The Scandi line, or shooting head, is large at the rear and tapers all the way to the fly end and delivers small wet flies and soft hackles like a laser beam. Scandi’s are perfectly designed for riffles and caddis eating trout. It’s nice for the smaller flies but for larger flies like various streamers and Intruder style flies, a Skagit line is needed. Skagit lines can deliver a full size yard chicken, if needed. They are very good at fishing runs and holes or buckets, as our spey brothers and sisters call them. Adding tips to the Skagit lines of various weights allows you to fish different depths.
Local rivers that come to mind that are well suited to trout spey are the Tuckaseegee River in Sylva North Carolina and the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge Georgia. Both are large and not too easy to wade, a perfect combination for the spey rod. With a spey rod you can stand in a safe wading area and launch cast into areas that are less safe for wading. Fast, deep water, ledge rocks, and distant runs are all fair game for the old two-hander. I teach Trout Spey fishing classes on the Toccoa River year-round for anyone interested in learning the craft. I owe it to my Scottish Heritage! All gear is provided and fun will be had for sure! I’ll see ya’ll on the river!
Give David Hulsey a call at (770) 639-4001 to book a class or a guided trout trip. See his website at www.hulseyflyfishing.com.